Press releases from the Castrol and Hannspree Ten Kate Honda teams, Yamaha's World Superbike and World Supersport teams, and the PTR Bogdanka teams:
Rea tastes victory again at Assen
Jonathan Rea won today's opening race of the third round World Superbike event at Assen in the Netherlands today and followed it up with a podium in race two to kick start his season in style.
Assen marked the home race for Rea's team and his victory was his first of the season and the first for the newly branded Castrol Honda squad, which is based just 50km to the south of the historic 4.452km circuit.
Spaniard Carlos Checa took victory in race two, as front tyre problems prevented Rea from pressing for his second win of the day to follow up his double at Assen in 2010. Meanwhile, Rea's Castrol Honda team-mate Ruben Xaus finished eighth in the first 22-lap race today, but could only manage 14th place in race two.
After qualifying in fifth place on the grid, Rea made a good start to race one and passed Checa for the lead on lap four, before powering to victory from second placed Max Biaggi. In race two, the 24-year-old had a slower start and, as he tried to get by fellow Ulsterman, Eugene Laverty, Checa and Biaggi were able to open a gap which Rea was unable to bridge after his tyres went off.
Jonathan Rea – 1st and 3rd
First and foremost, I'm really proud to give the famous Castrol Honda name the first victory on its comeback to this championship. We spent all weekend developing the bike for the races, and that strategy paid off. I got a good start but couldn't decide whether to let Max past and let him dictate the pace. In the end I made the right decision to stay in front and take the win. We had to dig deep in race two because I got held up for a while and the front guys got away. I was matching their lap times but we ran into some tyre problems later in the race. I'm really happy with the weekend though, and really grateful to everyone who has helped to get me here – it's been a long hard winter coming back from injury. The team has worked really well and that's exactly the right sort of confidence and momentum that we need to take to the next races. I'm happy to be back where I belong, in the winners' circle, and I look forward to trying to get more wins for the team.
Ruben Xaus – 8th and 14th
Of course, I can't be satisfied when my team-mate is first and third and I am eighth and fourteenth. Yes, he won twice last year and has a great rhythm here and knows where the problems arise, but still I can't be satisfied. Race one was OK and we found a way but almost as soon as race two started the clouds came and the track temperature dropped. We had tyre allocation problems here this weekend and we didn't have the right set up to make the soft tyre last or the harder tyre work properly. The A tyre was the good option for race one, even though the performance dropped off at the end. In race two, the tyre was like it was at the end of race one, only after five laps. So we fought hard to bring the bike home with a slightly better set-up. Hopefully we will get more consistent track temperatures at Monza and other races. Now I know the bike much better, the team is working well and the gap is closing to the riders at the front.
Ronald ten Kate – team manager
There was some very solid work by the team to get a good set up for Jonathan, with everything focused on the races. Race one was almost inch perfect from him – he rode really well and made no mistakes. It would have been great to double up like he did last year but, honestly, with the problems he had with the front tyre in race two, he made the right decision not to push and collect instead some good points. During the weekend we talked about putting momentum into our season and getting the big wheel turning and I'm sure we've kick-started the season here. Hopefully we can carry this into the next rounds, too. Ruben's set-up and riding style seemed only to work with the soft tyre, which gave him grip. Unfortunately, that tyre didn't work the whole race distance. We hope track conditions will be a bit more normal in the next couple of rounds to give him that grip with other tyres because, for sure, he's not in the position that we would like him to be.
Foret battles hard to score second in a shortened WSS race
Originally scheduled for 21 laps, the third round of the FIM Supersport Championship eventually had to be restarted twice after red flag incidents and was eventually run as a complete contest at the third attempt, but over only 16 laps. Full points were awarded as Chaz Davies (Yamaha) took a clear win after Florian Marino (Hannspree Ten Kate Honda) was knocked off by a following rider, under braking, on lap eight. Florian had been vying for a podium, but an impressive charge to second from the much injured Fabien Foret (Hannspree Ten Kate Honda) still gave the Dutch team reasons to cheer at their home race. He had been fourth on the grid.
Fourth, and within touching distance of Broc Parkes (Kawasaki) and the final podium spot was Robbin Harms (Harms Benjan Racing Team Honda). He remains the top placed Honda rider in fourth, but is now much closer to the championship lead. Luca Scassa (Yamaha), who tangled with Marino today, has 50 points, Parkes has 47, Davies 45 and Harms 34. Foret moved up to sixth thanks to his 20 points from today's race.
James Ellison (Bogdanka PTR Honda) was seventh, but Miguel Praia (Parkalgar Honda) moved up to eighth in the final revised race classification when Roberto Tamburini (Yamaha) was disqualified. Vladimir Ivanov (Step Racing Team Honda) was therefore ninth, not his original tenth, while Balazs Nemeth (Team Hungary Toth Honda) moved up to tenth, Imre Toth (Team Hungary Toth Honda) to 11th. Pawel Szkopek (Bogdanka PTR Honda), Bastien Chesaux (MACH - Moto Academy Swiss Honda) and Robert Muresan (PTR Romania Honda) all scored points today. Gino Rea (Step Racing Team Honda) fell while in a potential podium place, but recovered to finish 16th.
Front row qualifier Sam Lowes (Parkalgar Honda) crashed on lap six of the first attempt at running the full race, having just moved into second place. His highsided at the Ossebroeken right-hander led to a short concussion and a broken left collarbone for the young English rider and he was taken to hospital for scans to be carried out. Alexander Lundh (Cresto Guide Racing Team Honda) was involved in a two rider fall on the exit of the final chicane that caused the second red flag and his subsequent broken left wrist meant he could not make the restart.
Fabien Foret (Hannspree Ten Kate Honda)
Race result: 2nd – Championship position: 6th
"I am very pleased to take second place and get 20 points after the problems we had in the first two meetings. A few laps from the end I had some issues with the rear tyre so I had to slow down and protect my position. It was a good weekend for us, particularly as I am still not 100% back to full fitness, so to great to be on the podium and take home good points."
Robbin Harms (Harms Benjan Racing Team Honda)
Race result: 4th. Championship position: 4th
"Near to the podium again, but it was much better than Donington. I had more power inside and I was much closer to third. We missed some engine power because the rider who got third pulled away from me exiting the corners and I had so many metres to make up for under braking, one or two more than I needed to get past him. I am satisfied with the overall performance. I did not make any mistakes and had good rhythm. We are still top Honda team in the points and closer to the leader now."
James Ellison (Bogdanka PTR Honda)
Race result: 7th. Championship position: 8th
"Every time the race got red flagged it went in our favour because we could make some small changes to the bike, get further up the grid and then gain a few positions at the start. The race was going really well until half distance. I had a bit of a problem with the front all weekend and in the end the front tyre was gone. Other than that, the bike had a podium potential. I'm a bit disappointed but we'll get the bike up there where it needs to be at Monza."
Miguel Praia (Parkalgar Honda)
Race result: 8th. Championship position: 13th
"That was a hard race and I am pleased to have finished where I did. It is never easy to keep concentration when there are three starts. This is my best result of the season and for me it has been a positive weekend as we have made set-up improvements on my Parkalgar Honda. I am looking forward to Monza and starting that race with what we have found here, I want to keep this positive momentum and keep improving."
Vladimir Ivanov (Step Racing Team Honda)
Race result: 9th. Championship position: 17th
"I got a top ten and my first points and I am happy for this because the last two races I have not finished. So this is a positive result. I wanted to be faster in my pace and in that race I should have been a better position. I think maybe not a top five yet, but I should be in a higher position."
Gino Rea (Step Racing Team Honda)
Race result: DNF. Championship position: 10th
"I lost the front into the left hander before the double right. I was struggling a little into the corners because we have a clutch in the bike that we do not usually use and I was trying to control it on the lever. It was a bit inconsistent and when I fell I had no chance of saving it. I am taking only positives away from here because we obviously have the speed to run up front, the chassis is getting there and now we just have to complete the package."
Florian Marino (Hannspree Ten Kate Honda)
Race result: DNF. Championship position: 9th
"Nothing I could do about the crash today, I just hot hit from behind. I am disappointed, but I have seen that we have the potential to fight for the podium and I think this is good for our minds. Now we take all the positive things to Monza and try to do my best and fight like we did this week as well."
Laverty and Melandri put on a strong battle in Assen
The Dutch track proved challenging for Yamaha World Superbike riders; Melandri and Laverty this afternoon in Assen. Marco Melandri got off to a less than perfect start off the grid in race one falling from eighth back to eleventh in the first lap. He put his head down, working his way through the pack and pushed up to fifth place by lap ten. Aiming for a podium he closed in on the leading gang before crossing the chequered flag in fourth position.
Team-mate Laverty initially fell back a few places before regaining third position on lap seven and creating a significant gap ahead of Checa in fourth. Unfortunately mid race he began to struggle with the rear of the bike and found himself fighting hard to maintain the pace before crossing the finish line in seventh. The determined Irishman put on a strong and steady performance in race two. Experiencing trouble with the front of the bike he initially fell back to ninth but put in a series of consistent laps to push back up to sixth. Race two proved unfortunate for Melandri who shot off from eighth position on the grid and worked his way up to fourth before losing the front of the bike and crashing out on turn seven of the 16th lap. The Italian put in the top speed in race one and two with his YZF-R1 reaching a high of 298.7 km/h.
Melandri heads to round four of the 2011 championship in Monza third in the championship with 85 points, 47 behind the current championship leader. Team-mate Laverty sits in ninth place in the standings with 35 points.
Yamaha World Superbike Team - 4th, DNF
"I got a bad start in race one and seemed to be losing feeling in the rear of the bike. By the time I had regained feeling and a good race pace it was too late to push for the podium. In Race two the bike seemed to have a better set up and I managed to get a good start off the grid. I closed in on the leading pack but after the first ten laps I started losing grip in the rear tyre. I was keeping an eye on Rea and was planning to close in on him in the last laps but unfortunately without even realizing it, I lost the front and crashed out. I'm very disappointed with this and hope it doesn't happen again."
Yamaha World Superbike Team - 7th, 6th
"I was doing really well until mid way through race one when I started suffering from chatter and losing balance due to displacement in the rear tyre. I struggled for the second half of the race and managed to finish in seventh position. Race two was more consistent even if a little slower. We made the wrong choice of tyres on the front but I'm still getting used to Superbike tyres and knowing what I need to use as the temperatures change. This weekend has been productive, I've learned more in this round than I have so far this season."
Andrea Dosoli - Yamaha World Superbike Team Manager
It's a pity how race two concluded for Marco. He got off to a good start and held faster race pace than in race one. Putting in a series of fast laps on a hard race tyre was stressing the front tyre on entering turns and consequently he lost the front of the bike. The lack of results on this track will make him more motivated before his home round in Monza. Eugene made great progress this weekend and is definitely more prepared for the upcoming races. He didn't just gain points but also valuable experience. The technical input from the problems encountered here will help improve on the set up in preparation for the next round. We need to increase the bike stability exiting turns and find a better setting to be used with soft tyres.We aren't using the bike to its full potential."
Third Consecutive Win for Yamaha ParkinGO Team
Yamaha ParkinGO Team rider Chaz Davies took his maiden victory in the World Supersport Championship today on the historic Dutch track in Assen. The Brit didn't hesitate to take the lead right off the grid and ride his YZF-R6 to cross the chequered flag with over seven seconds ahead of his competitors. Davies put in a spectacular performance, keeping the leading throughout the entire race and providing the Yamaha ParkinGO WSS Team with their third consecutive race win of the 2011 season.
Team-mate Luca Scassa had a less fortunate race day, crashing out mid race. The Italian rider got off to a less than perfect start from his pole position on the grid, falling back to fourth. He immediately regained a steady race pace and on attempting to jump up to third he collided with Marino, sitting just ahead of him. As a minor compensation for the disappointing race today in Assen, Scassa claimed the fastest race lap with a lap time of 1'39.019, showing his true potential and that of his YZF- R6 machine.
Plenty of drama was on display as the race was red flagged twice. On both occasions Scassa and Davies, had gotten perfect starts off the grid from pole and eighth position and were sitting comfortably in first and second places respectively before a series of riders crashed out, causing the race to be red flagged.
Scassa heads to his home round in Monza still leading the championship on 50 points. Davies is now just 5 points behind, sitting in third position with a total of 45 points, while Yamaha is comfortably leading the Manufacturers Championship by 14 points.
Yamaha ParkinGO Team - 1st, 1'39.007
"Finally! I think that sums up how long I have waited for today to come. It's often a case of luck and I feel it has rarely been on my side in the last few years and so far this season. The bike is doing really well. After yesterday's accident in qualifying, the team had to work really hard all night to rebuild the bike and I think I managed to repay them for it. I'm looking forward to Monza now that I am officially back in the hunt!"
Yamaha ParkinGO Team - DNF
"Today was very stressful due to the three race starts. Everything was under control in first two races, I was sitting nicely in the lead before we were red flagged. Unfortunately the third time around I didn't get off to a very good start. I had difficulty overtaking and when Marino seemed to slow down, I just lost control of the bike. I've learnt a lesson and hopefully it won't happen again. I have to be tougher from the start and get my head down and just go. I'll make up for it in Monza!"
Best ever Polish result by Szkopek at Assen
Pawel Szkopek's 13th place finish today equaled his best ever World Supersport result and a best ever finish by a Polish rider, but the Bogdanka PTR Honda rider goes one further after the Italian, Roberto Tamburini, was disqualified from today's race at Assen for an underweight bike.
This means that Pawel's 12th position today is the best ever result scored by a Polish rider in the World Supersport Championship with the Polish ace looking to bring the Bogdanka PTR Honda Team even more joy in the rounds to come.